Black Hammock Airboat Rides
2356 Black Hammock Fish Camp Road, Oviedo, FL, USA
Black Hammock Airboat Rides Oviedo Reviews
Air boat ride on the Jesup River in Florida Nov 03, 2015
I've taken several boat cruises on rivers and seas, but this was the first time taking an air boat ride. This happened last week when we went to the town of Oviedo in Florida where the Black Hammock Adventure complex is located.
We had purchased the tickets online, and then booked by phone to take the 11 am tour but we arrived at the place a little after 10. When we checked in at the office (which also serves as a gift shop), the girl there said we could go on an earlier tour as there were two customers already waiting.
At the pier the air boat was already docked. I could see that it had a capacity for 12 to 15 passengers, but as there were only two other people we had a total of only 5, including the captain. No complaints there, it was like having the whole boat to ourselves.
I had never seen an air boat before, let alone ride on one. It is basically a flat-bottomed vessel propelled in a forward direction by an aircraft-type propeller and powered by either an aircraft or automotive engine. Here in Florida air boats are mainly used for fishing in marshy shallow waters or for ecotourism. The one disadvantage is the very loud noise from its engine. We were all given headphones with big ear pads to reduce the sound level.
Starting our tour we headed towards Lake Jesup which is supposed to be the most alligator populated (over 9,000) lake in Florida. Our captain was an experienced pilot (all of Black Hammock's air boat pilots have their Master Airboat Captain License approved by the US Coast Guard) and obviously quite knowledgeable about the abundant wild life of the lake. We passed through the thick marshes and tall grass. We were lucky enough to see baby alligators in its nest among the reeds. We also circled Bird Island which is home to hundreds of bird species.
Lake Jesup itself is one of the largest lakes in Florida with a circumference of 28 miles/45 kilometers including open water and floodplain. There must be some fish which inhabit this shallow lake as we saw several fishing boats in the area of open water.
Our boat ride lasted 30 minutes which is actually a bit short if you really want to have a thorough tour of the lake. However, 1 hour rides are available too, as well as night rides. The rates vary according to the duration. We booked our tour through GROUPON and got a good deal which also included a $20 coupon for use at the restaurant.
After our lake tour we sauntered through the grounds of the complex. There is a lakeside bar, an alligator exhibit and also a mini Parrot Jungle. Lunch was at the Black Hammock restaurant which has an extensive (and exotic) menu. We passed the exotic dishes i.e. alligator meat and had the more regular meal of fish and chips. For drinks I had the house favorite of 2 for 1 margaritas. Oh yes, we also got to hold a young alligator for a photo session which was included in the GROUPON deal.
The Black Hammock is an ideal place to visit for those interested in ecotourism, such as bird watching, wildlife and the wonders of nature. They also accept group events for birthday parties, weddings, school reunions, etc. I was told that on weekends they have live bands.
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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